Differential Tuition

The Jon M. Huntsman School of Business charges tuition over and above the tuition required by the university. This “differential” tuition was instituted in 2007 with the support of the business senator, the student-run Business Council and the Huntsman School National Advisory Board. The proposal was unanimously approved by the Utah State University Board of Trustees and the state Board of Regents.

Current differential tuition per credit hour is as per below:

  • Undergraduate lower division (1000 & 2000-level courses) - $2
  • Undergraduate upper division (3000, 4000 & 5000-level courses) - $97
  • Graduate (6000 & 7000 -level courses) - $349

For more information on the proposal, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions below.

If you have any additional questions about differential tuition, please contact Dave Patel, associate dean for student services and external affairs dave.patel@usu.edu or 435.797.7878.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What is Differential Tuition

Answer: Consistent with other business schools across the nation, The Jon M. Huntsman School of Business charges additional tuition over and above the tuition required by the university.

Question: Do students pay Differential Tuition now?

Answer: Yes. Students pay $2 per credit hour for lower level undergraduate courses, $97 per credit hour for upper level undergraduate courses, and $349 per credit hour for graduate courses. This “differential” tuition was first instituted in 2007 with the support of our students and subsequently approved by the Utah State University Board of Trustees and the Utah State Board of Regents. The practice of charging differential tuition is common among business schools across the nation.

Question: What percent of courses are affected for a typical student?

Answer: Differential tuition applies to approximately one-third of all courses students take in earning a bachelor’s degree. For the typical full-time student, differential tuition would apply to seven out of 10 courses per year during the junior and senior years, or 21 out of 30 credits per year.

Question: How is the money collected from differential tuition used?

Answer: Differential tuition is used to cover costs associated with the following:

  1. Salaries and benefits for Huntsman School faculty and staff
  2. New and existing student experiential programs
  3. Departmental operating expenses
  4. Some administrative infrastructure and operating expenses

Salaries and benefits: The vast majority of differential tuition revenues go to pay faculty and staff. Currently 22 faculty members are fully or partially funded by differential tuition. Additionally, 17 staff members are fully or partially funded by differential tuition.

Many of the new faculty and staff are instrumental in the strategic implementation of programs and student offerings such as an expanded internship program, career acceleration program, entrepreneurship and global engagement programs, expanded student advising, and support staff for our enhanced MBA, MHR, and MMIS graduate programs.

New and existing student extracurricular programs: We believe that “outside-the-classroom” learning is as important as “inside-the-classroom” learning, and provide our students with a variety of experiential opportunities to further understanding of practical business methods. Our goal is to seed these programs with funding from the school, with a clear objective for the programs to become self-funded within a set timeframe. Differential tuition helps to cover costs associated with our international and entrepreneurship programs, as well as our career services.

Departmental operating expenses: The Huntsman School has four departments – Accounting, MIS, Economics & Finance and Management. The departments are responsible for delivering courses to students. There are costs associated with delivering courses – such as copy machines and copies, markers for boards, Scantron materials, expenses to support faculty research, etc. Money allocated to the departments is inadequate to cover these expenses. Previously, the departments supplemented allocated money by charging class fees. The Huntsman School of Business has eliminated almost all class fees and uses differential tuition money to cover these expenses.

Administrative infrastructure: This category of expenses includes things like marketing and branding, assessment, accreditation and advancement. The single biggest expense in this category is for marketing and branding. The Huntsman School has some great stories to tell. Historically, we have not told that story. We are committed to telling these great stories so that we can increase the value of the Huntsman School brand for the benefit of our students and alumni.

Question: Why does the Huntsman School charge differential tuition?

Answer: At the business school, and at Utah State University as a whole, enrollment, or demand, has increased, but budgets for faculty and staff, or supply, have not kept pace. We are faced with a decision to cut enrollment (demand) or increase cost (supply). Supply and demand also applies to the hiring of faculty. Enrollment (demand) has increased but the number of qualified faculty (supply) is declining.

We do not want to cut enrollment for a variety of reasons. Utah State, through its land-grant mission, plays a role in providing access to higher education to all who qualify. Further, we believe the Huntsman School is gaining momentum through quality teaching, research and programs, and we want as many outstanding students as possible to share in the Huntsman experience.

Schools of business have been hit by a “perfect storm” of increased salaries, retirements and a “war for talent” in the last few years. According to AACSB, our accreditation agency, there are more than 1,000 unfilled faculty positions in colleges of business nationwide. The explosion of demand for business professors and the reduction in supply has led to a rapid increase in salaries. Without additional resources to recruit and retain top faculty, the quality of a USU business degree is threatened.

With rising enrollment, we must find ways to pay for more faculty members and more staff. We have already seen a tremendous jump in enrollment over the past year. As a result of this growth, we estimate that we need to hire eight new faculty and staff to serve our students. Increases in enrollment will also result in a comparable increase in department, program, and infrastructure expenses. Assuming existing funding support from the legislature and from university sources continues at similar percentages that we currently experience, differential tuition is necessary to meet these estimated expenses.

Question: As a state institution, does USU receive funding from the state legislature? If so, will the legislature meet these increase needs?

Answer: State funding is not controlled by the Huntsman School or USU. The Utah state budget, like state budgets everywhere, is very tight. We continue to work with state legislators to find ways to better fund higher-education but we cannot depend on state funding to keep pace with demand.

Question: Will there be another increase?

Answer: This is hard to predict, primarily because we do not control state funding and because the state budget is very tight. We are optimistic of the future of the business school, and are very focused on our mission to deliver an outstanding business education to our students. We will continue to work with state legislators to find ways to better fund higher-education. However, current indications are that we cannot depend on state funding to keep pace with our aspirations to create a top tier business school, and with the demand based on increasing enrollment. We cannot promise there will not be an additional increase sometime in the future.

Question: What about private funding?

Answer: Private funding efforts have largely funded construction of a new building to help us address the expanded need for more space for students, classrooms and teaching facilities. We also use private funding to increase support to faculty and to student scholarships. During the 2013-2014 academic year, the Huntsman School of Business awarded $1,209,700 in scholarships to students from privately donated money. This figure is more than a five-fold increase over the past six years.

Question: Were students involved in determining the necessity and level of differential tuition? How was the proposal communicated to the student body of the Huntsman School?

Answer: The initial proposal was reviewed with the Business Council members several times. The council considered the proposal very carefully, discussed and weighed the issues and unanimously approved the proposal on Tuesday, January 18, 2011.

A letter was drafted and signed by the business council and shared with the Huntsman School and Utah State University officials as part of the approval process. A letter from Dean Ken Snyder was sent directly to all students on January 19, 2011. An information website was created on the college website (www.huntsman.usu.edu) and information was provided on the college home page, including a link to the student letter. Additionally, a quarter-page advertisement was placed in the Utah Statesman and information was provided in the Back Burner section to invite Huntsman School students to three (3) open forums to discuss the proposal. Information slides were created and posted to the TV screens within the business building.

The three town hall meetings were hosted on January 24, 25 and February 2, 2011. Additionally, Dean Snyder made himself available for questions via person and in e-mail.

Question: What is the Huntsman School of Business doing to help students pay for the cost of higher education, including differential tuition?

Answer: We use private funding to increase support for student scholarships. During academic year 2013-2014, the Huntsman School of Business awarded $1,209,700 in scholarships to students from privately donated money, including a doubling of scholarships specifically to cover differential tuition.

Question: Why do business school students pay differential tuition to teachers that are not in the Huntsman School of Business? Specifically, why do I have to pay differential tuition for a class taught by a professor from the Ag Econ Department?

Answer: Differential tuition monies help support Huntsman School faculty even though they may have a teaching assignment in APEC. No differential tuition monies support APEC faculty – even though they teach classes in the Huntsman School. Whether or not students pay differential tuition is governed by the class and not by who teaches the class. We share a commitment with the Ag Econ Department (APEC) to put the best teacher in front of our Economics classes. As a result, we have developed a teaching exchange with APEC where some of our faculty members who have expertise in one area teach classes for them, and some of their faculty members who have expertise in a different area teach classes for the Huntsman School. It is an even exchange of teaching assignments. There is no money exchanged.

Question: Does differential tuition money go to support the new building?

Answer: No. The new building for the Huntsman School is funded by the generous support of our alumni and friends and the support of the state legislature.

Question: Does differential tuition money go to support the Huntsman Scholar Program?

Answer: No. The Huntsman Scholars program is funded by a generous donation by the Jon and Karen Huntsman Foundation.

Question: Does differential tuition money go to support scholarships?

Answer: No. All of our scholarships are funded through the generous support of our alumni and friends.

Question: What does the school do to ensure that differential tuition money is not used to pay for programs or teaching that is less than excellent?

Answer: We consider the differential tuition monies invested by our students to be a sacred trust. We are committed to be wise stewards over the use of all differential tuition funds. We are also committed to excellence in every program we provide, and in every class we teach. If there are any programs or classes that are less than excellent, we encourage students to point out these areas so they can be addressed by administration.


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